Category Archives: MS Learning Opportunities

2022 Virginia Frank Memorial Writing Contest Grades 5-8


Create your own original fiction featuring a character from a book you read on your own.

Deadline:  Friday, February 25

Check out the website for more details and read the winning entries from last year’s contest.

Readers Wanted!

Young adult author Angela Welch Prusia is inviting you to read a book (or 2) from her new “Bully Bracket” series, Headlock and Pinned.
Students who sign up for this learning opportunity will be sent a .pdf of Headlock, the first book in “The Bully Bracket” series.  Sometime mid-February, we will meet during the school day to have a book talk/seminar.  If interested, students can go on to read the second book in the series, Pinned.  Sometime in March/April, Angela will come to WMS and do a writers workshop.  More details to come!

If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Dr. Spady to get a .pdf copy of Headlock.


Joslyn Art Museum Seminar-Feb. 3

Who:  I have space for nine 7th and/or 8th graders

What & Where:  Docent-guided tour at Joslyn Art Museum, Topic: Leadership: Making a Difference

When:  Thursday, Feb. 3 (leave after 2nd period and return after lunch)

If you have already participated in a seminar this school year, please allow others who haven’t attended a seminar the opportunity to sign up first.  Email Dr. Spady if you are interested in attending.

United States Academic Pentathlon: Grades 6-8


Academic Pentathlon tests students in five different subject areas.  Students can choose to compete in 1, 2, 3, 4 or all 5 subject areas. All tests are online.

Where and When:

The 2022 Regional Competition (for Westside Community School students in grades 6-8) will be on Thursday, Feb. 17 at Westside Middle School.


Academic Pentathlon isn’t about demonstrating how good a student you already are. It’s about daring to push your limits.

If you are interested in participating in the Academic Pentathlon, please email Dr. Spady by Friday, Jan. 21.  She will provide you with additional details.

The 2021-22 United States Academic Pentathlon theme is:
Water: A Most Essential Resource.

Below is a brief summary of the topics covered.

SCIENCE: The science topic will be an introduction to marine biology.

LITERATURE: The literature curriculum will include critical reading, one long work of literature, and selected shorter works. The long work of literature will be the novel A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park ISBN 978-0-547-57731-9.

FINE ARTS: The fine arts curriculum is a combination of art and music. The guide will focus on the impact of water on art and will explore the many ways water has influenced music.

SOCIAL SCIENCE: The social science curriculum will be the impact of water on human history.

MATHEMATICS: The mathematics curriculum will cover an overview of probability, permutations and combinations, statistics and algebra.

For more information, visit:

Math+: Advanced Math Learning Opportunity

Math+ is an advanced math class that will be taught this spring by Jake Moore, a math instructor at Duchesne Academy.  Students in 6th-8th grade are invited to participate in this course which will focus on Logic and Proofs.

Starting on Wednesday, Feb. 2, the course will run for 6 weeks from 5:30-6:30 at St. Thomas More.  The program costs $250 and families can sign up at

For more information, check out the flyer linked below.

Westside Community Schools does not sponsor or endorse the organization or activity described in this material. The distribution of this material is provided as a community service.

History and Science Bee

Are you interested in history and/or science?  Do you like trivia types of questions?  If you answered yes to these questions, sign up for the WMS History and Science Bee!

When:  Thursday, January 27 Period 9 and Warrior Time

Where:  WMS PAC

Each test is online with 50 multiple choice questions.  Each test is timed at 20 minutes.

The top scorers on each test will be recognized.

Please email Dr. Spady by Friday, January 21 if you are interested in attending/competing on January 27!

Empowered | Poetry Contest

‘Empowered’ Poetry Contest

YoungWriters is inviting students ages 10-18 to write a poem for Empowered, a poetry contest designed to help students find their voice and express themselves.

Check out the link below for some free resources including a video, poetry prompt ideas, and a graphic organizer to write your poem in any poetic style you choose.

DEADLINE:  February 11, 2022

Westside Community Schools does not sponsor or endorse the organization or activity described in this material. The distribution of this material is provided as a community service.

Nebraska History Day 2022

Nebraska History Day

Nebraska History Day offers academic programs that engage middle- and high-school students throughout Nebraska annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local level, where the top student entries have the opportunity to advance to the State Contest at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. Top ranking state contest projects have the opportunity to advance to the National Contest held at University of Maryland at College Park.

The 2021-2022 theme is:

Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.

Check out the contest dates HERE

Exhibit guidelines can be found HERE

Nebraska History Day Website:

National History Day Website:

Speech and Debate Opportunity…STARTING SOON!

WHAT: Guided by Kids is a non-profit which offers speech and debate education free of charge.

WHO:  Omaha area students in grades 5-8

WHEN:  Weekly meetings are on Thursdays, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., except for our first two classes, which meet on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 and Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

WHERE:  Sump Memorial Library in Papillion in the largest meeting room,

Class size is limited to 12 students in order to practice social distancing.  Guided by Kids also asks that all students who are part of Guided by Kids attend classes masked and be fully vaccinated (if vaccines are available for their age group).  Both instructors are fully vaccinated.

Find out how to apply here:

Westside Community Schools does not sponsor or endorse the organization or activity described in this material. The distribution of this material is provided as a community service.

Nov. 9 Field Trip to The Durham Museum

Are you interested in exploring the vast and fascinating history of our great city?  Then read on!

Who:  7th and 8th Graders

What & Where:  Field Trip to The Durham Museum to explore the exhibit: Omaha Uncovered: Revealing History Through Art and Story

Click here for more information about the exhibit.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 9:30-1:00

There is room for 9 students on this field trip.  Please email Dr. Spady at spady dot lynn by Friday, October 29 if you are interested in attending.